The Japanese government will return more than 1,200 volumes of ancient royal books to South Korea in early December, Yonhap News Agency reported in its online edition Wednesday.
The books include texts of royal protocols known as "Uigwe," from Korea's Joseon dynasty, which ruled from 1392 until the Japanese takeover. They were taken from Korea during Japan's colonial rule from 1910 to 1945 and are currently kept by the Imperial Household Agency in Tokyo.
The return of the books, scheduled for Dec 8, is the result of a commitment made last year by former Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
In October, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visited South Korea aimed at smoothing prickly relations, bringing with him a set of historic books seized by his country decades ago.
Noda returned five volumes of Korean royal archives. It has completed its required domestic legal process to return the rest of the books.
When Noda took office in late August, South Korea urged his government to "look squarely" at the past -- a reference to disputes that have lingered since World War II ended the era of harsh colonial rule.
Relations improved after Japan's tsunami disaster in March, when South Koreans offered aid and sympathy, but worsened this summer when a territorial row over islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) flared up again.© Japan Today